Rommel's Desert War: Waging World War II in North Africa, 1941-1943

Rommel's Desert War: Waging World War II in North Africa, 1941-1943

by Martin Kitchen
     
 

At the height of his power in January 1941 Hitler made the fateful decision to send troops to North Africa to save the beleaguered Italian army from defeat. Martin Kitchen's masterful history of the Axis campaign provides a fundamental reassessment of the key battles of 1941–3, Rommel's generalship, and the campaign's place within the broader strategic

Overview

At the height of his power in January 1941 Hitler made the fateful decision to send troops to North Africa to save the beleaguered Italian army from defeat. Martin Kitchen's masterful history of the Axis campaign provides a fundamental reassessment of the key battles of 1941–3, Rommel's generalship, and the campaign's place within the broader strategic context of the war. He shows that the British were initially helpless against the operational brilliance of Rommel's Panzer divisions. However Rommel's initial successes and refusal to follow orders committed the Axis to a campaign well beyond their means. Without the reinforcements or supplies he needed to deliver a knockout blow, Rommel was forced onto the defensive and Hitler's Mediterranean strategy began to unravel. The result was the loss of an entire army which together with defeat at Stalingrad signalled a decisive shift in the course of the war.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rommel's Desert War is a book of outstanding importance. It will stand alongside, challenging and correcting, Liddell Hart's Rommel Papers. Martin Kitchen takes us to the heart of the Axis war effort in North Africa. His book effortlessly blends sources written in many languages into a gripping narrative. The struggle for Libya was not the 'war without hate': it was a squalid and nasty fight with enormous ramifications for world history. Kitchen captures both the brutality and the importance of the struggle. No one is going to see the Desert War in quite the same light after reading his book." Simon Ball, author of The Bitter Sea: The Struggle for Mastery in the Mediterranean 1935-1949

"Rommel's Desert War brings fresh sources and a fresh perspective to the North African campaign. Kitchen's skillful blend of policy and strategy, operations and tactics, pulls no punches. His stringent, well-documented critique of Rommel's performance in particular makes this a significant contribution to the literature on the Second World War." -Dennis Showalter author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century

"At last we have a book which provides a modern, balanced and fascinating account of the war in North Africa from the Axis point of view. Martin Kitchen reveals with real clarity the complex interaction between the two armies in the see-saw fighting of the desert. He punctures myths effortlessly and, impressively, links the fierce desert fighting with the political imperatives and realities of the fascist powers. This book is now essential reading for anyone interested in the desert war and its place in the wider history of the Second World War." -Niall Barr, author of Pendulum of War: Three Battles at El-Alamein

"For too long the decisive campaign in North Africa has been viewed as a military duel between Britain and Germany, personified in the figures of Montgomery and Rommel. Now at last, making full use of Italian sources, Martin Kitchen has given us a balanced, judicious and convincing analysis of the three-handed war in the desert. It will be required reading for every World War II historian." John Gooch, author of Mussolini and his Generals: The Armed Forces and Fascist Foreign Policy, 1922-1940

"In Rommel’s Desert War Kitchen has produced a fine book; highly recommended." -Adrian Gilbert, warbooksreview.com

"Martin Kitchen combines policy, strategy, tactics and personality in a detailed account from the Axis perspective. … Fascinating insights abound." -Soldier, magazine of the British Army

"Thanks to Kitchen's meticulous research, there is now a compelling account of the battles from a German perspective, with a well-rounded and not altogether flattering picture of Rommel." -Foreign Affairs

"Arguably the most provocative reassessment of this theater in many a year, this challenging, rich, well-argued tome forces careful revisits to dearly held truths about strategy, operations, tactics, and personalities." -World War II Magazine

"Kitchen has written the definitive analysis of the North African war for our time."
Germany Studies Review, Larry L. Ping, Southern Utah University

"This study gives us a vivid view of the theater from the perspective of the Afrikakorps command." -Eleanor Hancock, American Historical Review

"...valuable for the specialist and interesting for the amateur of the desert war." -A.A. Nofi, StrategyWorld.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521509718
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/31/2009
Series:
Cambridge Military Histories Series
Pages:
616
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Martin Kitchen is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History, Simon Fraser University. His previous publications include The Third Reich: Charisma and Community (2007), A History of Modern Germany, 1800–2000 (2006) and Europe Between the Wars, 2nd edition (2006).

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